When you are planning a trip to south Germany you will probably visit Munich, Heidelberg, maybe Lake Constance – but rarely this almost forgotten town called Augsburg. However, located only 40 minutes by train from Munich, Augsburg is worth a visit, especially when you want to escape all the typical tourist attractions such as Octoberfest and Hofbräuhaus. Augsburg has the typical historic centre of an old German city and of course there are museums and the usual sightseeing spots every historic city has. But after living in Augsburg for many years, studying at Augsburg University, but also enjoying the pleasures of a student’s life, I’d prefer to introduce you to the spots you wouldn’t find in a common travel guide and that make Augsburg such a nice place to live or visit.
1.) Visit Grandhotel Cosmopolis – or even stay for the night!
This is not just a fancy hotel, as the name might suggest, but an amazing project defining itself as “a social sculpture in Augsburg’s heart”. It is a home for refugees, but at the same time a studio for artists, a space for culture such as concerts and exhibitions and a hotel. Thanks to the different people living under the same roof, there is always a relaxed and multicultural flair. When you visit Augsburg, you should definitely drop by in the Grandhotel Cosmopolis – in the afternoon for coffee and cake in the hotel lobby, in the evening for a drink at the bar or in the beer garden. Or even stay for the night; each hotel room is individually designed by an artist.
2.) Listen to live music in Kulturcafé Neruda
This little bar is another place where different cultures meet and that makes every new guest immediately feel like being a part of a big family. Every night there is live music of all kind – singer-songwriters, jazz or traditional Turkish music, every musician is welcome. Once a week and often later in the night there are open jam sessions and always plenty of guitars, bongos and a piano to grab spontaneously when you feel like playing.
3.) Swim in the Eiskanal
Sounds like freezing, but is the best thing to do on a hot summer day in Augsburg: go for a swim in the “Eiskanal” (English: “Ice Canal”). This artificial stream, also called Proviantbach, flows through parts of the town. Especially where it meets a little meadow close to Proviantbachstraße and the restaurant Schlachthof, many students and other young people hang out in the sun and jump into the water whenever they need a refreshment. The stream’s slight drift makes you feel like Baloo the bear from jungle book!
4.) Have Drinks at Rathausplatz
In spring and summer Rathausplatz, the big square in front of the town hall, is one of the best places to hang out with friends. People just sit on the floor and bring their own drinks or get a coffee or beer in one of the bars nearby. In mild summer nights, some might even arrive fully equipped with a picnic blanket and candles to enjoy the warmth of the asphalt heated by the sun and the ripple of the fountain in the middle of the square. As drinking alcohol in public places is legal in Germany, don’t be afraid to make it even classier and bring a bottle of wine and wine glasses. And you also don’t have to worry about what to do with empty beer bottles; in Germany you get a few cents for bringing them back to the supermarket (an initiative by the government to improve recycling). Therefore there are so-called “bottle collectors”: people who want to make some extra cash by bringing empty bottles to the supermarket. They recollect your beer bottles even before you can bring them to the bin and ensure that the square stays clean
5.) Dance in City Club
This is, in my opinion, the best place when you’re up to a long night out dancing. In the style of a typical Berlin hipster club, City Club is open until the early morning, usually with good DJs and bands playing electronic music and Indie rock (and something even Psychedelic and 60s). The City Café downstairs is great if you prefer hanging out and having drinks instead of dancing. During the day, the café also offers tasty cakes and vegetarian food.
6.) Have Vegan Brunch in Café Dreizehn
No matter if you’re actually vegan or not – you are going to love Saturday brunch in Café Dreizehn. This cosy vegan coffee shop that is part of a yoga studio and has the best brunch in town every Saturday from 10 am until the early afternoon. Paying only 13 Euros for “All-you-can-eat”, you have a great choice of bread with fancy spreads, cereals and muesli, warm dishes, cakes and desserts. All dishes taste in a creative way familiar and exotic at the same time. Even passionate carnivores would go vegan for this!
7.) Relax in Titania Therme
This thermic spring spa is easily reachable with public transport and ensures the possibility to fully relax within a few hours. The thermic spring pool has an outside area, where you can even swim in winter with snow on your head and your body in the warm water. Inside, there is a cave where you swim besides real fish, but separated from them by glass. In the sauna area you have a great choice between different kinds of sauna such as hot stone sauna, oriental steam room or Scandinavian sauna. If you like it more adventurous, you might want to check out the water slides; one of them makes you fall into a funnel in top speed!